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Noor Inayat Khan

Tribute to an Indian princess who died for our freedom: Sculpture unveiled of spy tortured and executed by Nazis after refusing to betray Britain
·         Noor Inayat Khan was one of Churchill's elite band of women spies
·         Spy was the first radio operator to aid the French Resistence
·         Despite being tortured and interrogated by Gestapo she never gave up her loyalty to Britain
·         Shot by firing squad in 1944, Noor's last word was 'Liberte'

A beautiful Indian princess, she  sacrificed her life for Britain as a  wartime secret agent.
With astonishing courage, Noor Inayat Khan evaded the Gestapo before being betrayed, tortured and,
 after refusing to reveal any information, executed at Dachau concentration camp.
Her last word as the firing squad raised their weapons on September 13, 1944, was 'liberté'.
Noor Inayat Khan wartime heroine who had a statue to her unveiled by the Princess Royal in London today
Yesterday, seven decades after her death aged 30, a statue to the forgotten heroine was 
unveiled in London by the Princess Royal.
The bronze bust commemorating Britain’s only female Muslim war heroine is the first 
stand-alone memorial to an Asian woman in the UK.
It stands in Gordon Square near the house where Noor lived and from where she left 
on her last mission, unable to tell her mother she might never return.
Princess Anne said  stories such as Noor’s are ‘remarkable in their own right’ but have a 
real connection to make with the modern age through their ‘multi-cultural aspect’. 
She hoped the statue will 'remind people to ask: Who was she? Why is she here?
 And what can we achieve in her memory?'

Noor had a degree in child psychology played the sitar, and wrote short stories for children

The statue of Noor Inayat Khan was made by London artist Karen Newman
Noor was part of an elite band of women in the Special Operations Executive (SOE) and the first woman 
radio operator to be flown into occupied France to aid the Resistance.
Born in Moscow to an Indian father and an American mother, Noor was a descendant of Tipu Sultan, 
the 18th century ruler of Mysore. The family lived in London, moving to Paris when Noor was six.
She studied the harp, gained a degree in child psychology and wrote children’s stories. 
When Paris fell to the Nazis in 1940, she returned to London and volunteered for the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force. 
Recruited by the SOE in 1942, she was sent to Paris in June 1943 with the codename Madeleine.
Many members of the network were soon arrested, but Noor chose to remain in France, trying to send messages back to London while avoiding capture

The Princess Royal unveiled the statue today at Gordons Square in London
Princess Anne said stories such as Noor's are 'remarkable in their own right' but have a real 
connection to make with the modern age through their 'multi-cultural aspect'

Herione: Noor was executed in Dachau for refusing to give up state secrets
That October she was betrayed by a Frenchwoman and arrested by the Gestapo. She was kept in chains and in
 solitary confinement. Her captors kicked and interrogated her but she revealed nothing.
When posthumously awarded the George Cross, Britain’s highest civilian decoration, for her gallantry in 1949, the citation read:
 'She refused to abandon what had become the principal and most dangerous post in France, although given the opportunity
 to return to England, because she did not wish to leave her French comrades without communications.'
Noor was one of only three women in the SOE to be awarded the medal. The other two – Violette Szabo and Odette Hallowes – 
have been more widely known and celebrated until now.
Campaigners spent years raising £60,000 for Noor’s statue, by London-based artist Karen Newman, from public donations and
 enlisted the support of politicians including David Cameron, who said it was ‘impossible not to be moved’ by her bravery.
Shrabani Basu who wrote a biography of Noor in 2006 called 'Spy Princess' and spearheaded the campaign to get her formally
 recognised, said: 'I realised how much Noor's story had touched ordinary people, especially the young.
'I felt it was all the more important to remember Noor's message, her ideals and her courage in the troubled times we live in.' 
Noor's brother Hidayat Inayat Khan, 95, was unable to travel from his home in The Hague, Netherlands, to attend the
 ceremony due to old age but said in a message read by his grandson Omar:

Nazi concentration camp Dachau, where Noor was shot after being tortured and imprisoned by the Gestapo
'May the inhuman suffering of all those - who like my dear sister perished under the
 brutal cruelty of the oppressor - not be in vain.' 
Her cousin Mahmood Khan Youskine, 84, who spent holidays with her in France as a child, did make it and said:
 'I remember her as a very refined girl who believed in freedom as a spiritual condition. 
'Later I think she decided freedom had to be a political and social experience too. 
'Sometimes it can take time to gain clarity on the past, but I appreciate it enormously that she is now being given recognition in the heart of London.' 
Veterans of both the SOE and WAAF including Irene Warner, 91, who trained with Noor, were among the 300 throng. 
She remembered her as 'quiet and shy but very nice' and said she 'certainly deserves recognition'. 
General Sir David Richards, the Chief of Defence Staff, said in a message in the programme: 
'We owe our freedom to women like Noor Inayat Khan.' 
After the unveiling, a bugler played the Last Post before a minute's silence was observed. Noor was also 
posthumously awarded France's Croix se Guerre after the war. A film of her life is planned for release next year on the centenary of her birth.

A friend of mine sent the above. I do not know the author or the copyright holder. However, I hope they will accept my apology for we both share the same heroine in Inayat.

Memories of Kenya history of the GI Nairobi

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A great gift by the Goan Institute Nairobi to Goans around the world!

Europe ... Never goodbye, More Adieu ...Maybe

Europe was delicious as always and I enjoyed most everything to the hilt, especially London and some very special and dear friends ... and Oh, the curries I had missed for 28 days, my stomach kept saying Nix Nox Nax to a lot of the bland European cuisines, although I did have one unforgettable meal: in Amsterdam at the hotel Hamptons where I was staying at: My fellow travellers had headed for the nightlife but I chose to stay in because I had spied a salmon dish on the menu. I enjoyed it with a friend and it turned out to be the greatest salmon dish I had ever tasted. It was cooked so lightly to perfect, with virtually no viral spices, just a dribble of something other around the plate. Heaven.

There were many delightful mini walking tours, an hour or two, or marathons of up to five or six hours, lots of breaks between points of interest. It was hard going for me but I paced my self got pissed on plain bottled water, OK, tiredness sometimes felt like I had been knocked over by several single malts ... after I had caught my breath I was ready to take on the world in small doses again.

However, there was one such walk that really a disappointment: Prague castle ... we walked for hours on a hilly setting without being able to get into any of the buildings of interest ... if I had been told that earlier by my tour leader I would not have bothered.

I had been to Rome before and to this day I revel in the sheer majesty of the Catholic and Roman magnificence that makes Rome and Vatican what they are today: the two great historical, architectural, grandest places on earth. I went walkabout in Rome without my camera and instead paid my own personal tribute to the ancients with the beads. A friend took an identical shot at the
Colosseum. Instead, I headed for the missing link in my bucket list: Pompeii. While I bowed my head to thousands who died in the volcanic explosion that buried a city, on this particular day we were not able to see everything, I think lack of time was an issue, after all, it was a day trip from Rome. But one cannot but feel a lump choking you in your throat or you are often driven to prayer.

Paris never seems to change a bit  ... wait a minute, there is one sad change: many, many people, refugees, asylum seekers, habituals, the poor and homeless, are more and more visible in the streets of the great city. Sad, sad, saddest. Somehow, the magnificence of the place seems to overpower everything else. We went to Notre Dame (destroyed partially by fire not so long ago) which has been cordoned off for repairs and the safety of all. Again, one becomes a little emotional by the damaged and uplifted by the promise of repairs and the return to it grandeur.

Barcelona has its own uniqueness for it to be respected as one of the great cities of our time ... maybe not the grandeur of Rome and the Vatican, or the outstanding attractions of Paris ... but it is a city not to be missed, especially in 2026 ...when Barcelona's and Spain greatest architectural achievement will achieve completion: The mighty Sagrada Familia Basilica was born in 1846 and its construction will finally be completed in 2026... I would love to see that but that is I one date I may not be able to make. It will be truly magnificent ... it is already magnificent ... God only knows just how much more magnificent it is going to be in 2026.

While I was transfixed on the Sagrada, I also saw a lot more of Barcelona during the three days I was there but I did give the Flamenco a miss, see too many of them. A lot of traffic but somehow, like Paris, it keeps moving on. God help them if there is a major accident, hope it never happens. Went to Barcelona FC but did not take the tour ... not that big a fan of the club. Another fellow traveller paid up the 30 Euros or so and was delighted with everything.

In between the big places, there were some smaller ones which had their own charms: Bratislava, Ljubljana, Liechtenstein, Bavaria and Luxembourg are a delightful break from their larger cousins.

Berlin is always delightful but even more so if like me you are interested in the last days of Hitler and the Third Reich. Munich, the city of beer and beer, will always charm you while feeding you lots of sausages and more sausages and pork.

Always a great time in Vienna home of the waltz and lots of almost forgotten history. Venice is for romance and the romantics, it will charm you anyway.

Oh I loved Dresden which had been virtually crumbled to the ground during WWII. They managed to salvage some of the old building materials and have saved some historical buildings and the place is looking good and busy.

Oh, I did not go to the Jungfrau, the roof of Europe, because I was there last time but did go to Geneva.

Well as I said that was that. Oh London was delicious because of the people I met and the food I ate. A very special thanks to all of you, especially my hosts in Bexley Kent. Wonderful memories.

London: Special Friends

Jason D'Costa

Father Doug, Leo Rodrigues

James Fernandes, Jason

Juliette D'Costa, Loretta Fernandes